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David Bowie Is Becoming a Pay & Display

This news article from five years ago focused on a few of my initial suggestions/predictions for the Victoria & Albert museum’s forthcoming David Bowie Is exhibition, as relayed to Gareth Harris for the September 2012 issue of The Art Newspaper. The London press launch happened  few days later, trailed by a few curious that didn’t make the final edit.

I was delighted the V&A went with all four of my (pretty obvious) choices, naturally. Having said that, some of the exhibits ended up being displayed quite badly, with certain accessories missing. For instance, the blue sweater from the US Diamond Dogs tour (a play on the stars and stripes of the American flag) was minus the all-important shoulder pads, which gave it a rather forlorn and sad silhouette.

Ziggy Stardust fashion for the V&A: David Bowie’s outrageous stage costumes to go on display

London. The Victoria and Albert Museum is banking on David Bowie to draw the crowds next year when an exhibition of the rock star’s costumes reflecting his style innovations goes on show.

Yamamoto’s symmetrical striped catsuit worn during Bowie’s 1973 Aladdin Sane tour

Bowie’s early-1970s flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a combination of eyeliner, androgynous sexuality and Kansai Yamamoto costumes, made him the most talked-about musician in the world. Steve Pafford, the co-author of the book Bowie Style (Omnibus Press), says that the show needs to include certain key pieces. These include a quilted jump-suit worn by Ziggy Stardust on the BBC programme Top of the Pops in 1972, when Bowie performed Starman in red PVC boots, described as a “career-defining” moment by Pafford. 

The Pierrot clown outfit designed by Natasha Korniloff for the 1980 Ashes to Ashes video is also essential, Pafford adds. The museum is due to announce further details about the show, organised by its theatre and performance department, this month.

Gareth Harris

With a dazzling background in arts and media, in 2000 Gareth was working in public relations at Orange Square Marketing & Publicity in Westminster; and had been hired by Omnibus Press as the PR manager for the BowieStyle book, which is how we first connected. The press release he penned is here, which was great, but me being me I wanted to write one of my own tailed more for the ‘converted’, which is quoted by here My review of David Bowie Is here

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